I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man. The power and impact of personal branding for modern business.

by | Aug 8, 2020 | Marketing

I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man. The power and impact of personal branding for modern business.

An article about why I think your personal brand is so important in modern marketing.

Jay-Z is somewhat of a big deal. In 2020 his net worth was $1 billion. A billion! Now, I’m not suggesting that the aim or ambition of anyone reading this article is to become a billionaire (but hey, if it is – go ahead – you can do it!). But how did Jay-Z get so incredibly wealthy? Aside from being a fantastic musician, he is also an incredible entrepreneur, record producer and his name and brand transcends music.

He famously said “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” and I think it’s a line that becomes more relevant in modern business and modern marketing positioning.

With a social media following of millions, Jay-Z is the brand. He is the business. And you can be too. But what does that look like for you?

What do you believe in?

What do you stand for?

And what does your personal brand say about you?

I want to share some ideas here that will help you overcome any risk of imposter syndrome that stops you building a personal brand to support your business growth. Nobody knows more about your product or service than you – so why don’t you share that knowledge and treat your business the best possible asset – YOU!

Some people hide behind the banner of a faceless brand or fear the opportunity that is afforded to us all through the implementation of modern marketing and sales activity. In a world when people expect to be able to speak to you, in a world where consumers inform their decisions with an abundance of info, it is you they are looking for and by ignoring the fact you are doing a disservice to your business.

So where do we start?

This fantastic article in Forbes shares 10 golden rules for personal branding and could be a great read beyond this article too.

Get known & have a focus.

As the forbes articles tells us, “Too many people are unfocused when it comes to press and coverage, trying to be “everything to everyone.” Decide what your key message is and stick to it,” says Cooper Harris, founder and CEO of Klickly. You must decide what you want to be known for and to whom you want to be known.

Too often the goal is to simply get busy. I want you to think about getting the right kind of busy and have a focus and a mission greater than your immediate product and sales volume. My Dads In Business project is a great project with a purpose and a mission above my day to day business. The work we do with 0114 Marketing, Plan. Grow. Do., and The Boiler Business all have a mission and a goal to a specific group of people. It has helped me win awards and get recognition that validates the position and focus I have worked hard to create.

You cannot, and should not be everything to everyone. By getting known, you start to carve our a focus that will add tremendous clarity to your business strategy and marketing planning.

Have you ever asked yourself what you are known for? Have you taken the deliberate steps to identify your focus points and what you really stand for? 

In March, many people’s business stopped. The lockdown which stemmed from Covid-19 halted many businesses in their track – mine included. It was time to stop selling, but it was not a time to stop marketing. It was not time to stop getting known. If anything, it was the motivation and driver we all needed to double down, focus on what mattered for our market and our industry and support it. To offer guidance in a time of need was of utmost importance to me and I worked hard to create that help and guidance to my communities and markets that needed it.

You can get known by telling stories about how your brand helps people in similar situations to those you are aiming to talk to. You can tell stories about your vision and your mission. This will all get you known and liked with a key market for your business. I oten tell the story about the creation of 0114 Marketing as a brand to support the smaller business owners of the Sheffield City Region. Remember, not every business needs, wants or can afford a full time marketer, but every business needs marketing!

The holding pattern in sales. 3 things to do when the market disappears. 

Behind the scenes we worked hard to innovate our products but it wasn’t the time to share that information. What needed to be shared was content that supported the intended recipient. You must build the classic adage – know, like, trust. People will not buy from brands or people they do not like, trust, or know. So you have to get known to your audience. You have to stand up and have a focus, which lends itself nicely to my next point, get positioned. 

Get positioned

I often say that people don’t just buy from people, they buy from people like themselves. It’s a subtle yet significant difference don’t you think? Think about the brands we shop with, the influencers we watch and subscribe too, the training providers and business coaches we work with. It’s important to align our values with the brands, products and services we invite in to our lives as consumers, so why then do we think it’s any different when we try and impart our own brand, product or service on to the consumers, expecting them to buy from our generic messaging.

In this powerful talk by Simon Sinek, he applies the thought process of brands like Apple and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr that share their vision and position by starting with why. 

Watch this video it’s an eye-opening 15 minutes that poses many questions of your current marketing activity.

It is important to have an opinion and be willing to share that opinion to a group of people that matter to you and your business. By staying generic, pleasing everybody , you are most likely talking to nobody with any particular impact or effect. When we review the stats in the impressive article written by Super Office on the topic of social selling, we can see that consumers are willing – in 92% of occasions – to engage with an industry thought leader compared to just 62% of the time with general salespeople.

This emphasises the importance of having an opinion lends itself to you becoming an industry though leader. This doesn’t mean becoming a show off!

Nobody likes a show off!

Please don’t think that by voicing an opinion you risk becoming seen as a know it all or a show-off. It’s important to strike the right tone with your messaging with the aim of building a value led opinion, sharing insights and thoughts that impart genuine knowledge and value for the intended recipient. My friend and colleague Steve Knapp of The Sales Mindset Coach offers some great advice about becoming a leading voice in your industry, you should definitely take a read.

Why not also check out the webinar that we host around the topic of the 5 Anchors Of Modern Selling. It’s a free to watch, on demand webinar that addresses the key topics from the Plan. Grow. Do. sales training methodology that really goes to town on the power of using you as the key driver for your business.

Step Up. Stop hiding behind a corporate banner.

I don’t know about you, but when I browse over LinkedIn, I notice the difference between the levels of positive engagement between people and businesses. But I also notice my own actions and I find myself willingly engaging with people like me more than brand pages. Brand pages can be souless at times and lack and personality or personal touch.

I think there is a huge opportunity for smaller businesses to emphasise personal positioning and back your. brand at a personal level and not hide behind the brand because it makes you feel comfortable. The customer expectation has changed and to behave in a modern environment in an appropriate manner means stepping up and representing your brand values on a personal level.

Larger brands should have a personal voice too.

Even larger brands who have a corporate vision, tone of voice, and need to maintain a level of consistency in their messaging have an opportunity here to empower staff and create a personal culture around what may be a larger brand. We have worked with large traditional engineering firms who just don’t ‘get it’. And that’s ok. As long as you’re willing to learn and change your approach to match the expectations of the customers you are trying to work with in the first place.

If you are not willing to change and see this as a risk or an opportunity for competitors to see your activity, I believe you are been somewhat short-sighted.

If 92% of your customers want to engage with industry thought leaders, that means they want to engage with you! 

Please don’t hide behind a corporate banner or a company page just because you don’t understand this, yet blame the platforms for not delivering results. You must adopt and adapt to the changing environment

Your environment has changed. It won’t change back. Are you getting left behind?


Further reading from the marketing blog

Be persistent. Be consistent.

Using your personal social media profile for better marketing.

How to Tell Your Marketing Story Online